Do you want to get the most money for your scrap metal or car? Follow these 5 steps in order to avoid being ripped off at a scrap yard and get as much money as you possibly can. There is a scrap yard near me that pays good money, but only if you apply these top 5 steps. Selling scrap metal is a great idea for a side hustle and you can make lots of money. I’m sure you have seen metal on the side of the road. Well, you could start a business collecting metal and then selling it in order to get out of debt faster.
Top 5 Steps to Get the Most Money at a Scrap Yard
I live in a small town nestled between two major interstates. Due to the difficulty of driving older cars out of town on one of these busy interstates, I often see people putting up older cars for sale for about $75 to $100. Friends of mine in grad school have happily purchased these affordable cars, knowing that they’ll only need to drive it around our small town for a year or two before taking it to the scrap yard or salvage yard. It turns out, you can usually get your money back if you sell the car as scrap metal.
Selling metal at local scrap yards is actually a profitable side hustle if you know what you’re doing. Consumer items like cars can be taken apart, sorted into the different types of metal, and sold as scrap.
Save Your Trash!
Who knew saving your trash could become an easy side hustle? What good is your 1983 Toyota Corolla doing in your driveway or backyard, anyway? Why keep that old microwave in the garage that no longer works? Take it apart, sort the metal, and take it to the scrap yard!
I moved into a new place two months ago. If I had known then what I now know about how to get the most for your metal at a scrap yard, I would have taken a lot of metal items to a scrap yard near me rather than taking it to the Goodwill.
How to get the most for your metal at a scrap yard can be broken down into 5 main steps. Read on to learn more about each one in detail!
Step 1: Collect items that contain metals
Collecting scrap metal as a side hustle or as a hobby is all about looking for value where other people aren’t seeing it. For example, do you have an old broken washer in your basement that you keep saying you need to get rid of? Have you noticed cheap, broken appliances at garage sales? These items are all opportunities to sell scrap metal. You can even scrap old, broken Christmas lights! I never thought I’d have a real use for random strands of Christmas lights that don’t work anymore. But if I take them to a scrap yard near me, the copper wiring inside the Christmas lights can be recycled and repurposed.
Disclaimer: Don’t take anything unless it is legal to do so! You can’t take metal from other people’s property, for example.
Don’t be afraid to ask people at businesses, local neighborhoods, and yard sales if they have metal or broken appliances you can take. Sometimes people will just be happy to have someone haul it away for free!
Scrap Metal Items To Look For
- Electronics – desktop computer towers, computer or TV monitors
- Appliances (especially non-functioning appliances that contain electric motors) – toasters, refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, kitchen range, washers, dryers, AC units, or heaters
- Wiring – electrical wiring, copper wiring, or power cords
- The Little Pieces – screws, nuts, or bolts
- Bathroom & Light fixtures – pipes, faucets, drains, or pieces of metal from light fixtures
- Doors – doorknobs, door handles, or door frames
- Vehicles (a.k.a. Things That Move) – cars, bicycles, boats, or airplane parts
- Yard Sale Finds – Someone else’s junk can become your treasure! Find items for almost nothing that you can take apart for the scrap metal.
Now you can definitely sell these items as whole units, but you’ll make more money by taking them apart and sorting the metals.
Step 2: Take the items apart
Taking other people’s junk and turning it into treasure actually sounds pretty fun. Have you ever wanted to take apart a radio and see how it works? How about an old computer tower? Now you the perfect reason to do so!
Here’s the deal with collecting scrap metal: If you want to get the most money back for your efforts, then you’ll want to take most items apart. The metals inside of the items listed above will go for higher scrap metal prices if they are sorted and cleaned. In the scrap metal world, “clean” means non-metal materials from been removed from the pieces of scrap metal.
Let’s say you have an old refrigerator. You may be able to sell it “as is” for a low price. However, if you take the time to take it apart and sell each separate type of metal, you will get a better quote from a scrap yard. Scrap yards price metal per the pound, so you’ll definitely have a lot more to offer by taking items apart and seeing what’s really in there.
Step 3: Sort and organize the metals by type
This takes us to Step 3: sort, sort, sort, sort! If you’re serious about selling scrap metal, then don’t ever take your materials to the scrap yard without organizing them first. If you love to organize and you have the OCD to fuel the task, then this is the perfect side hustle for you!
As mentioned in Step 2, you have to take metals apart and organize them to get the best quote at a scrap yard. It’s pretty simple. The yards price metal per the pound, so if your metal is organized and isn’t mixed in with metals that vary in value or mixed in with non-metal materials, then you’ll be able to sell it for a higher price per pound.
Get a Magnet
The first thing you’ll need to sort your metal is a magnet. Scrap metal falls into two major types: ferrous (magnetic metal that sells for lower scrap metal prices) and non-ferrous (non-magnetic metals that go for higher prices than the former). Use your magnet to pull ferrous metals away from non-ferrous metals.
Next, you’ll need to start organizing your ferrous and non-ferrous metals by the specific type of metals (see the list below). You’ll need an organization system to keep everything tidy and separated for hauling it to the scrap yard; you can use boxes and buckets and label them. You want everything to be ready to go as soon as you drive into the scrap yard.
Copper is a non-ferrous metal that is red in color, and it’s where most of the money is to be made in selling scrap metal. Copper prices are higher than those for other metals. Remove copper wire from items like Christmas lights, store the copper in its dedicated container, and collect it until you have enough for a big haul. Keep in mind that #1 copper wire is worth more than #2 copper wire. Other places to find copper include pipes, AC parts, electrical wiring, and circuits.
Other Types of Metal
- Aluminum (non-ferrous) is soft and silver or white, and it is the second most valuable metal you can scrap – Find aluminum in cans, bicycles, window frames, roofing material, and motorcycles
- Brass (non-ferrous) is a combination of copper and zinc, and it is heavy. It is red and yellow, but you may find green brass if it has been left outside. – Find brass in faucets, light fixtures, and keys.
- Lead (non-ferrous) is another soft metal, but it’s also heavy and it’s toxic. Take care if handling lead. – Find lead in pipes
- Iron (ferrous) – Find iron in washing machines, yard furniture, or lawn mowers
- Stainless steel (ferrous but not magnetic) is one of the lower scrap price metals – Find steel in cars and appliances
Lastly, organize each metal into clean versus dirty containers. Remember, clean means that non-metal materials have been removed from the metal. So if you’re taking apart Christmas lights, only keep the copper wiring and do not include the light bulb body. High quality metals that are clean will get you a higher quote on the price.
Step 4: Research which scarp yard near you will quote you the best price
Now that your scrap metal is organized, clean, and ready-to-go, don’t rush to the closest scrap yard. You want to find the best location with the best prices where you can make the most money for your metal. Call metal yards near you and ask how much they pay for each type of metal you have collected. Don’t rush to the biggest metal yard or the ones that offer cash. Take the time to find the right place where you can take home the most money.
Do Some Investigation
Investigate exactly what type of metals you have on hand and how much they are worth on the market before going to a scrap yard. Metals are priced per the pound, and prices vary all the time depending on the current demand for each metal and your geographic location.
Most scrap yards will give you a better price for bigger loads of metal and for cleaner metals. Keep this mind, because it might be worth it to wait until you have collected enough metal for a big haul.
Before arriving, make sure you have your ID on you, as most scrap yards will check for it. For safety purposes, always have a phone and a first-aid kit handy. Dress smart and wear gloves, boots, and long sleeves and pants to protect your body from pieces of metal.
Step 5: Save a history of the scrap metal you have sold, and start developing good working relationships with local scrap metal yards
If selling scrap metal is the side hustle for you, then your best bet moving forward is to start developing good working relationships with the local scrap metal yards near you. Once you have a relationship in place, the metal yards are more likely to quote you better prices for your collected metals. If you become known for always bringing in large amounts of separated, clean metals, then you’ll be remembered. Keep a paper trail or some form of documentation of your sales. Then you’ll have a proven track record for being a valuable seller.
Conclusion: The Low-Down
There it is. The low-down on selling scrap metal at scrap yards near you. Not only is it a good side hustle, but it’s also sustainable! Recycling existing metals means materials will be reused, and you can be proud of your metal recycling efforts.
Check out this awesome You Tube video on more Scrap Metal Tips that will help you!
If you have experience selling scrap metal then post in the comments on how much you made or if you have any questions.
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